Director of UNRWA Health Program in Syria Dies of Coronavirus

Director of UNRWA Health Program in Syria Dies of Coronavirus

Displaced people from the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp queuing to receive aid from UNRWA in Yalda, south of the Syrian capital, Damascus in 2015. (AFP/File)

Regional director of UNRWA’s Health Program in Syria, Tayseer Sabagh, succumbed this week to COVID-19 in Damascus.

UNRWA’s medical staff, the General Authority for Palestinian Arab Refugees, and the Palestinian Red Crescent have mourned Tayseer’s death.

He was pronounced dead at Kindi Hospital. The funeral procession was held at AlKabon cemetery in Damascus.

Recently, concerns have mounted over a striking increase in coronavirus cases in and around Palestinian refugee camps in Syria, where the number of confirmed infections has already soared.

Medics sounded distress signals over the acute shortage in staff and equipment along with fuel needed to operate power generators at hospitals. The number of infections is estimated to get at least three times higher.

The Health Ministry’s coronavirus team said wearing face masks and respecting social distancing has become an obligation at commercial centers and public facilities. Those who violate such orders will have to pay a fine of 8,000 Syrian pounds.

Over recent months, AGPS has also warned of a projected outbreak of COVID-19 in Palestinian refugee camps in Syria. Though campaigns to help spread awareness among the camps’ residents have recently seen the day, limited access to running water, pharmacies and medical facilities mean displacement camps are more susceptible to the spread of the highly infectious virus.

Displacement camps set up in northern Syria are especially vulnerable as most hospitals and medical facilities have been bombed, rendering them out of order.

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